Bird News Team Update – December 2017

Bird News Team Update – December 2017

The bird news team is made of a group of able, willing and keen volunteers who put in the time to put the Cornwall bird news on the CBWPS daily sightings page, comprising Tony Mills (daily news editor) along with Crispin Benton, Dan Chaney, Dave Parker, Steve Rowe and Phil Taylor (there is no guarantee who is on each day, although we do have a general rota of daytime and evening news). We appreciate extra feedback and comment (a little positive comment goes a long way!), and are generally happy to assist with identification and general birding queries too.

Since much of putting the news on the website involves copying and pasting from emails, the closer the item you send to us is to the finished item, the better. For example –

Swanpool: 2 Firecrest, 2 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Water Rail at south end. (A Person)

Common things that sometimes need editing/changing before publishing include wrong semicolon after place name, bird names not capitilised, numbers after the bird name instead of before, bird names slightly wrong (eg hyphenated bird names), bird names pluralised, comma and spacing errors, and observers name with a full stop or incorrect spacing etc. So maybe not –

Swanpool; Seen at the south end today were firecrests 2 , blackcaps 2 , goldcrests 3 , and  3 Water Rails . ( A.Person)

This all may seem rather pedantic, but when the person doing the news each day has to edit the changes themselves, this can take up a lot of time, especially on a busy news day, so we do appreciate the effort taken at your end! Having said that, on the whole much of the news comes in pretty much as we would like, so a big thank you for the extra effort you have put in over the last year.

We also have preferences for eg times (08:00 or 08:00 hrs) and extra information; please try and send the news to us as you see it on the website, and we will fully update the guidelines in due course. Slight differences in grammar/wording are perhaps less important than maintaining the same consistency in format of reports on the news page if it is to continue to look as professional as we would like.

(We appreciate that news sent in from hand held devices, or in other circumstances, such as in the field, may not be so easy for you to format as we like, and we do very much appreciate your news regardless! Likewise, do bear with us if we don’t always get everything precisely right at our end either … !)


One thing which has changed a little over the last year is the grading of different birds on the daily news page by colour; presumably it should have been fairly obvious up until now, with Red representing BBRC rarities, eg Pacific Diver, and Blue Representing County Rarities, such as Dusky Warbler and Whooper Swan (there are 2 sub-categories of county rarity, relating to their rarity value and identification difficulty).

(See county-description-species in the ‘recording birds’ section for the full list of County A and County B rarities.)

The main change is introducing a pale Blue-Grey for ‘good’ birds which are not quite description species. A couple of major ones in this category are Wryneck and Hoopoe; neither of which are county rarities, but both are good birds and finding one can be a red-letter day indeed, and fairly desirable for twitching purposes. Hence making them a little more conspicuous in the general news page! So Blue-grey birds indicate good birds, generally corresponding to the same birds designated ‘scarce’ in eg the BB classification system; birds that would interest the birder and they would perhaps travel especially to see. However, depending on how much news there is to sort out and how common they are at the time this won’t always happen – Yellow-browed Warbler for example is a notably interesting bird in the UK, and would normally be highlighted; in times of influx though, going through and highlighting 15 or so birds every day isn’t exactly what we want to be doing, or the best use of our time. Maybe the first Goosander or Scaup or so of the season will be highlighted, but not necessarily so afterwards.

It would be nice to always highlight all good birds, but we don’t guarantee it; Spoonbill should perhaps be highlighted, but we probably won’t do it every day!

Non-birds, eg animals (but probably not plants) are also highlighted in orange; this is as much as to enable non-avian records to be picked up easily when scanning through as anything else, although rare or particularly interesting animals such as Humpbacked Whale or Vagrant Emporer dragonfly will generally also be highlighted in bold orange. All records of all taxa (outside of birds, which can also be reported to Birdtrack in addition to the society) can be reported to Erccis, with specific groups to different organizations in the county (butterflies, mammals etc).


Thankyou, the CBWPS Bird News Team